“If you worry, you die. If you don’t worry, you still die. So, why worry?”
I don’t think there is anything else that we as humans have more in common…besides breathing of course!
Being a victim of chronic stress myself, and all the symptoms that comes along with it, I thought I would just share the effects of stress on our beautiful skin.
When we stress, our body releases a hormone called Cortisol. Think of it as your body’s alarm system, increasing your body’s glucose in the bloodstream to enhance your brain’s use of the glucose and increase the availability of substances that repair tissues. It stops functions that are not useful or harmful in a flight-or-flight situation. However, we do not always need to be in a fight-or-flight state! We’d be in a real-life action movie!
When there is an over secretion of cortisol or it is chronically high, our body gets affected…in a not so good way! You know, the saying, “too much of a good thing….”
Cortisol drives the oil production in the skin. It stimutlates our sebaceous glands (oil glands) to produce more oil, which could block our pores, leading to comedones and breakouts. Cortisol is also secreted onto the skin. It mixes with the excess oil and breakouts and changes the pH of our skin, our protective barrier. This makes our skin vulnerable for the bad guys (bacteria), poor healing and makes it prone to injury. This leads to redness, inflammation, dryness, sensitivity and itchiness, leading to more break outs! When we’re stressed, it brings along a friend called, Anxiety. When we’re anxious we pick at our skin, weakening our barrier more, causing the spread of acne that could potentially could lead to scarring and pigmentation! As if you don’t already have enough to stress about!
Cortisol is also an immune-suppressant, which will result in a slower healing process. Not only in the face, all over the body. We could experience a breakout or itchiness elsewhere on the body too. It may not cause active rashes, but when we itch, it causes inflammation releasing cytokines that stimulates the nerves in our skin.
It is normal to lose moisture at night. Along with the stress, the cortisol impairs your moisture barrier by weakening the lipid layer, causing tranepidermal waterloss. Thus, itchiness tends to worsen at night, leading to sleep deprivation.
As our hair is part of our skin’s physiology, it is an extension of our skin. So naturally, the health of your scalp feeds into the health of your hair. If the health of your skin is impacted by chronic stress, your hair will be lead into the shedding/thinning phase as it is malnourished. This is called Telogen Effluvium. Usually when hairloss is due to chronic stress, it takes time for the hair growth to get back to its normal cycle. But, why? Inflammation leads to shrinking of the hair follicle, leading to balding. It is not a myth or a dramatic expression to say one has grey hairs because of stress! Again, because of the hair’s lack health, the growth will be hampered, lacking it’s components, namely, the pigment! Thus, leading to grey hairs! Oh my! We really did give our mothers grey hairs! Literally!
It has been proven by science that stress has a negative impact on the skin causing visible pre-mature aging. Because the cortisol spikes the blood’s sugar levels, it causes glycation which does result in the loss of elasticity. The increase of inflammation and free radical damage leads to the destruction of collagen. The slow healing negatively impacts the process of repairing damaged collagen in the skin and regeneration of new collagen. There will be the appearance of the fine lines, wrinkles, touch texture, uneven skin tone and yellowing of the skin. There is less circulation to the skin, as the body wants to nourish and protect it’s more vital, internal organs. Thus, you lose your glow. That should be a no-go!
We know stress will always be a factor in life, there is no denying that. However, there are so many ways of managing stress. The most common, and speaking of personal experience, is exercise! Not only do you detox and balance those cortisol levels, it will also improve your sleep quality. Two birds, one stone!
Journaling. Leaving it all on paper, in a poem, in a song! It is a form of therapy, a healthy form of expression. It gives us a chance to think about it, rationalize, and write it down.
The next way is as easy as breathing. JUST TAKE A DEEP BREATH OR TWO! The breathing increases the oxygenated blood throughout your body, to your brain. Calming you and helping you make a better choice on how to deal with the stressful situation at hand, reframing your mindset.
A healthy, well-balanced diet. No processed foods, as they can increase inflammation. The time to research and prepare a meal is also therapeutic. If you’re a stress eater and would like to change that? If you care about why you are eating and not about what you are eating? I know a girl! You’re welcome to meet our Dietician, Nutritionalist AND Mindful Coach and have a consultation. She will help you manage in a holistic way long-term.
The good, old-fashion massage is a homerun! Not only does it feel good, but it lowers your heart rate, relieves the stress-caused tension and increases your body temperature, promoting relaxation, releasing those feel-good endorphins! Yes, please! Sign me up!
The largest organ in our body, our first line of defence, heat regulator, our detox machine, our absorber, our ultimate protector! Imagine! Doing all of that for you! So, let’s give it the respect and care it deserves. Today, tomorrow, forever!
It is really amazing that our skin can tell us all this information about what’s happening inside of our bodies. Ultimately, it mirrors what is happening inside of us. It definitely impacts our internal organs.